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The effects of a group based stress treatment program (the Kalmia concept) targeting stress reduction and return to work. A randomized, wait-list controlled trial.

Bo Netterstrøm, Lene Friebel, Yun Ladegaard.

Abstract
Objective
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a group based multidisciplinary stress treatment program on reductions in symptom levels and the return to work (RTW) rate.

Methods
General practitioners referred 199 patients with persistent work related stress symptoms to the project. The inclusion criteria included being employed and being on sick leave. Using a randomized wait- list control design, the participants were randomized into three groups: the intervention group (IG, 70 participants) was treated using the Stress Therapy Concept of Kalmia, which consists of an integrative approach of group psychotherapy for 2.5 hours per week and Basic Body Awareness Therapy (BBAT) with mindfulness meditation for 1.5 hours per week, which runs in a parallel process supplemented with workplace dialogue; the treatment-as-usual control group (TAUCG, 71 participants), who received 12 consultations with a psychologist; and the wait-listed control group (WLCG, 58 participants). Treatment in the IG and the TAUCG lasted 10 and 12 weeks, respectively.

Results
Reductions in symptom levels (as measured by scores on the SCL92) were significantly larger in the IG (Cohen´s d= 0.73) and TAUCG compared to the WLCG . Further, the prevalence of depression declined significantly in the IG and the TAUCG compared to the WLCG. Regarding the RTW rate, 66% of the participants in the IG had returned to full time work after three months. This rate was significantly greater than the percentage in the TAUCG (36%) and the WLCG (24%).

Conclusion
The stress treatment program significantly reduced symptom levels and increased the RTW rate in the IG compared to the TAUCG and the WLCG.
ISRCTN52839015

Key words: Group -based, stress therapy, return to work, intervention, randomized controlled trial


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